Arun Shourie

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Arun Shourie (अरुण शौरी) (born 2 November 1941) is an Indian economist,[1] journalist, author and politician. He has worked as an economist with the World Bank, a consultant to the Planning Commission of India, editor of the Indian Express and The Times of India and a minister in the government of India (1998–2004). He was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1982 and the Padma Bhushan in 1990.[2]


Arun Shourie
File:Arun Shourie.jpg
Shourie in 2009
Minister for Telecommunication & Information Technology[3]
In office
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded by Pramod Mahajan
Succeeded by Dayanidhi Maran
Member of Rajya Sabha
In office
In office
Personal details
Born (1941-11-02) 2 November 1941 (age 82)
Jalandhar, India
Political party Bhartiya Janata Party
Spouse(s) Anita
Children 1
Residence New Delhi
Alma mater St. Stephen's College, Delhi
Syracuse University (PhD in Economics)
Profession Journalist and former World Bank Economist
Awards Padma Bhushan (1990)
Website Arun Shourie Blog [archive]

Arun Shourie was born in Jalandar, India, on 2 November 1941.[4] He studied at Modern School, Barakhamba[citation needed] and did his bachelor's in Economics(H) from St. Stephen's College, Delhi University.[5] He obtained his doctorate in Economics from Syracuse University.

In a series of exposés, many of which he wrote himself, Shourie and the Indian Express, where he became Executive Editor in January 1979, uncovered corruption in the highest echelons of the government and exposed several major scandals, including what has been dubbed “India’s Watergate.”[6] Shourie started a one-man crusade in 1981 against Abdul Rehman Antulay, the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra State, who allegedly extorted millions of dollars from businesses dependent on state resources and put the money in a private trust named after Indira Gandhi. The story caused the eventual resignation of the chief minister and great embarrassment to Gandhi and her ruling Congress Party.[7] The story caused the eventual resignation of the state governor, the highest-ranking official in India ever forced from office by newspaper reporting, and great embarrassment to Gandhi and her ruling Congress Party.

Shourie's exposés resulted in a prolonged labour dispute at the Mumbai offices of the Indian Express, where a labour organizer with ties to Antulay encouraged workers to strike for a minimum wage double than what was paid at any other newspaper in India. It also resulted in a government crackdown that included a host of legal cases launched against the Indian Express by various agencies. In 1982, the paper's owner Ramnath Goenka fired Shourie as a result of continued government pressure.[8]

Between 1982 and 1986, Shourie wrote for various newspapers and magazines, at the same time as being General Secretary of the People's Union for Civil Liberties. He was appointed executive editor of the Times of India in 1986 but was lured back to the Indian Express by Goenka in 1987. Shourie launched an attack on then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi over the Bofors howitzer gun purchase scandal. This contributed to Rajiv Gandhi's defeat in the subsequent parliamentary elections.

Among the many battles Shourie fought for press freedom, perhaps the most famous was his crusade against the government’s proposal in 1988 to introduce a defamation bill. It was widely perceived that the bill had been introduced with unusual speed in the Parliament in an attempt to muzzle the Indian Express, and the entire media community joined Shourie and the Indian Express in condemning the move.

At one stage, there were 300 cases filed by the government against the Indian Express, and credit supply from banks was cut off. Shourie, however, continued his battle against government corruption until 1990, when differences on editorial policy forced him to resign from the Indian Express. The differences involved Shourie's opposition to the implementation of the Mandal Commission Report, that sought reservations in government jobs for Other Backward Classes (OBC), which were initiated by then Prime Minister V. P. Singh's government. After that, he devoted his energy to writing books and regular columns, which appeared in different languages in 30 newspapers across India. In 2000, he was named as one of the International Press Institute's 50 World Press Freedom Heroes of the past 50 years.[9]

Shourie is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He has been a member of the Rajya Sabha and also held the office of the Minister of Disinvestment, Communication and Information Technology in the Government of India under Atal Bihari Vajpayee's prime ministership. As Disinvestment Minister, he led the sale of Maruti, VSNL, Hindustan Zinc among others. His position as Minister was a controversial one, but he and his secretary Pradip Baijal are much respected for kick-starting what people believe was a best-in-class process. In a poll of India’s top 100 CEOs in February 2004, he was ranked the most outstanding minister of Mr.Vajpayee’s government.[10]

Shourie was one of the loudest voices opposing the nomination of Pratibha Patil as the President of India in 2007. Arun Shourie authored two articles published as a booklet titled 'Does This Tainted Person Deserve to Become President of India?' in which he discussed the highly questionable past of the Congress candidate. In a detailed interview with Karan Thapar, Shourie gave voluminous proofs accusing Pratibha Patil and her kin of embezzling funds from Pratibha Mahila Sahakari Bank, a bank which she had founded and was in charge of. Reserve Bank of India (RBI), revoked the licence of the bank in 2003 after it was found out that the bank had illegally waived interest on loans given to many of Pratibha Patil’s family members.[11] Shourie also accused her of obstruction of justice and in a murder case against her brother G.N.Patil.

After the defeat of BJP in 2009 General Elections, Arun Shourie was one of the voices, besides Yashwant Sinha and Jaswant Singh, within the BJP demanding introspection and accountability. Matters came to a flashpoint after the expulsion of senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh because of his book praising Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Shourie defended Jaswant Singh in his articles in the Indian Express and accused the former BJP Party President Rajnath Singh of high handedness using such choice phrases as "Humpty Dumpty" and "Alice in Blunderland".[12]


Shortly after receiving PhD in economics from Syracuse University Shourie joined World Bank as an economist in 1967 where he worked for more than 10 years. Simultaneously, between 1972–74, he was a consultant to the Indian Planning Commission and it was around this time that he began writing articles as a journalist, criticising economic policy.[4]


In 1975, during The Emergency imposed by then prime minister, Indira Gandhi, Shourie began writing for the Indian Express in opposition to what he saw as an attack on civil liberties. The newspaper, owned by Ramnath Goenka, was a focal point for the government's efforts at censorship.[4] He became a fellow of the Indian Council of Social Science Research in 1976.[13] In January 1979, Goenka appointed Shourie as executive editor of the newspaper, giving him a carte blanche to do with it as he saw fit.[4] He developed a reputation as an intelligent, fearless writer and editor who campaigned for freedom of the press, exposed corruption and defended civil liberties such that, in the words of Martha Nussbaum, "his dedication to the truth has won admiration throughout the political spectrum".[14]

Shourie was a winner of the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1982, in the Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts category as "a concerned citizen employing his pen as an effective adversary of corruption, inequality and injustice."[13] In 2000, he was named as one of the International Press Institute's World Press Freedom Heroes. He has also been named International Editor of the Year Award and was awarded The Freedom to Publish Award.[4]


He was nominated from the state of Uttar Pradesh as a BJP representative for two successive tenures in the Rajya Sabha, thus being a Member of Parliament for 1998–2004 and 2004–2010.[citation needed] He held the office of the Minister of Disinvestment, Communication and Information Technology in the government of India under Vajpayee's prime ministership.[15] As Disinvestment Minister, he led the sale of Maruti, VSNL, Hindustan Zinc among others.[citation needed]

Shourie was among many who objected to The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act 1986, which the government headed by Rajiv Gandhi proposed to alleviate communal violence and retain Muslim votes. Claimed by the government to be a reinforcement of India's constitutional secularism, it was widely criticised by both Muslims and Hindus. The liberals among them, says Ainslie Embree, saw it as "a capitulation to the forces of Islamic obscurantism, a return ... to the thirteenth century"; the Hindu revivalist critics thought it was "weakening Indian unity". Shourie wrote articles that tried to show that the treatment of women as required by the Quran would in fact offer them protection, although the application of Islamic law in practice was oppressing them. He was in turn criticised for what was perceived as a thinly-veiled attack on Islam itself, with Rafiq Zakaria, the Muslim scholar, saying that Shourie's concern for reform of Islam was in fact demonstrative of Hindu contempt that used the plight of Muslim women as an example of the backwardness of the community. Vir Sanghvi termed it "Hindu chauvinism with a liberal face".[16]

After the defeat of the BJP in 2009 general elections, Shourie asked for introspection and accountability within the party. He deplored factionalism within the party and those who brief journalists to aid their own agenda.[17]


Arun Shourie has written numerous books that, according to Nussbaum, are

recognisably the creation of a smart, determined, muckraking journalist, They are polemical, ad hominem, often extremely shrill in tone. ... But despite their style, the books are obviously the work of a brilliant man, with a wide if idiosyncratic learning, a passion for the freedoms of speech and press, and a desire to get beneath current events to address underlying issues.[18]

Nussbaum interviewed Shourie for her anti Hindu book The Clash Within. During the interview, even calm Shourie lost his cool when Nussbaum mentioned the discredited Banerjee hoax report on the Godhra train massacre. She speaks of Shouries obssessive focus on Muslim violence, but what is more striking is Nussbaums obsessive denial of Muslim violence as of the Godhra train attack.

His writings have gained him a considerable following. They are on a diverse range of subjects related to his journalistic interests, including corruption, on issues relating to the detrimental effects of religion on society, producing critiques of Christianity, Islam and also Hinduism (see his book, Hinduism: Essence and Consequence).


Arun Shourie has written about 26 books. He is known for his well-researched and thought-provoking writings. His writings have gained him a considerable following around the country, as well as several national and international honours. Among these are the Padma Bhushan, the Magsaysay Award, the Dadabhai Naoroji Award, the Astor Award, the K.S. Hegde Award and the International Editor of the Year Award and The Freedom to Publish Award.[19]

  • In Does He Know a Mother's Heart? Arun Shourie discusses the perennial question that has grappled mankind since eternity: "If there is a kind, compassionate, all-knowing God, how can there be extreme suffering in this world?". Shourie analyses various religious scriptures in his quest for the answer to this question. The book is also a personal narrative of a father whose son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a child (Shourie's son Aditya is now 34 years old), and of a husband whose wife is a Parkinson's Disease patient. The personal narrative is particularly heart wrenching.
  • In We Must Have No Price, which is a collection of his articles published earlier in The Indian Express, and of his speeches in the Rajya Sabha and several lectures that he delivered at IIT Kanpur and elsewhere, Shourie presses for reforms in the higher education sector, in the economic sector and in political parties (specifically BJP, the party to which he belongs).
  • In his book Worshipping False Gods, Shourie criticized B.R. Ambedkar, the leader of Dalits, for alleged complicity with the British and lust for power and wealth. In pune his face was blackened by Dalit peoples for criticizing Ambedkar in his book.
  • In A Secular Agenda (1997, ISBN 81-900199-3-7), Shourie discusses various problems faced by India due to minority appeasement and pseudo-secularism practiced by the Indian politicians.[20] The book starts with a discourse on the definition of a nation. He cites examples of other nations in Europe to counter the arguments of people who do not consider India as one nation due to its different languages and religions. He argues for a Uniform Civil Code in the book[20] and the abolition of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. He also discusses the problem related to infiltration from Bangladesh and the inability of the Indian government to solve it.
File:Eminent Historians.jpg
Eminent Historians
  • Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud (1998, ISBN 81-900199-8-8) discusses the NCERT controversy in Indian politics and attacks Marxist historiography. Shourie asserts that Marxist historians have controlled and misused important institutions like the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), the National Council of Educational Research Training (NCERT) and a large part of academia and the media. He criticizes well-known historians like Romila Thapar and Irfan Habib. Shourie argues that Marxist historians have white-washed the records of rulers like Mahmud of Ghazni and Aurangzeb. Shourie presents examples to further his argument of how many of these text books describe in great detail foreign personalities like Karl Marx or Joseph Stalin, while they often barely mention important figures of India or of the Indian states. Shourie writes that this is in contrast to Russian Marxist text books. The standard Soviet work A History of India (1973) is according to Shourie much more objective and truthful than the history books written by the Indian Marxists.

As is invariably the case with Shourie writings, this work is too backed up by meticulous research and documentary evidence, which helps him reveal the truth, howsoever bitter it might be.

  • In Falling Over Backwards: An essay against Reservations and against Judicial populism, Shourie examines the history of reservations as to why they were originally introduced, the relevant sections in the Indian Constitution and the reasoning behind the exact words used. He then cites the rulings of courts to emphasise on the degeneration of judiciary from an upholder of the original values to openly flouting them. He examines how the Constitution was generously interpreted by consecutive court rulings to arrive at conclusions completely opposite to what the Constitution makers originally intended. He cites exact rulings and judgements to make his point. He then proceeds to discuss the introduction of reservations in promotions, the Rooster System, the arrival at the 50% limit and the subsequent flouting of it. Next, he proceeds to the logic behind the Mandal recommendations and the basis on which the same were made. He then examines the base of the commissions rulings, i.e., the 1931 census (the last time caste-based census was held in India), and showcases how the findings, ambiguous to begin with by the census takers' own admissions, was conveniently used by the commission. In the final part of the book, Shourie examines the effects of reservations in bureaucracy and elsewhere, citing specific examples and cases to highlight the absurdness that has set in and its adverse effect on the institutions. He discusses the future that the trend portends, and makes ominous predictions if the slide is not stopped. Shourie ends by quoting Nehru's remarks on reservations 'This way lies not folly, but disaster.'
  • Governance and the sclerosis that has set in: Arun Shourie discusses the rot prevalent in the bureaucracy and the inordinate delay that accompanies every task. Various cases are cited along with their timeline and their motion through the various channels bringing home the inefficiency of the structure. Shourie also discusses certain incidents involving his stint as the Disinvestment minister in the Vajpayee government. Lack of efficacy of various state governments, PSUs and departments is also discussed. Shourie suggests doing away with obsolete legislation and simplifying the processes.
  • The World of Fatwas or the Sharia in Action: Shourie discusses the concept of fatwas, the premises surrounding the sharia code of laws, its universality and how it is being used as a tool to keep the Muslim masses in a state of agitated isolation. He exposes the secular view of Islam's institutions and its ulemas in India as being incomplete and shrouded in hypocrisy. He discusses the need of a concerted program of reform headed by Muslim Liberals to vitiate the deleterious effects of the all-pervading power of the ulema. He also touches upon some contemporary issues such as the Shah Bano case and dissects the response of the fundamentalists as being symptomatic of the view of women as second class citizens propagated by particular interpretations of the Quran and the Hadis. The book also focusses on the conflict between the world view advocated by the fatwas and that of modern science.



  • with Amarjit Kaurn, Raghu Rai et al., The Punjab story, New Delhi : Roli books international, 1984, 199 p.

Selected articles[edit] [archive]

Lethal Custodians

Why the Hon'able Court Must Hear Us

Not an Abberation, But the Theme

Things to do about the Press

"Arey Bhai, Masjid Hai Hi Kahaan...?"

Ayodhya: Muslim Argument Examined

Myths about the Swami - Part I Myths about the Swami - Part II (Quotable Quotes)

Hazratbal Mosque Crisis: How and Why it Happened?

Premises and their Inevitable Consequences

The Wages of Calumny

'But We Have no Right?'

Secular Hypocrisy, Double Standard, and Regressions

"Muslims...were looking to Pakistan for help..."

Spiritual Renewal the Hindu Way -I, II, III

The Hindutva Judgements: The Distance That Remains

Toppling the BJP Government on the 31st

No Point Saying, "But those days are long gone"

With Friends Like These, Having Enemies is Better

One Who has in fact Wrought a Revolution

Surely the Basic Lesson Flows from the Basic Premise

Fascism will be Inevitable if Aggression is Called Resurgence

Fashion-Setters and their Well-Honed Technology

Contrivances Replace Contrivances With Contrivances With Contrivances

How Things Change !

Their Sacrifices: A Chapter from Tomorrow's Textbooks

Curiosity? Myopia? Servility?

Observers and Their Unalloyed Drivel

The Pakistani Bomb is, and has been, a Joint Venture

Third Demension to the N-threat We Face

The Tantrums Which Will Follow Explosions

Earplugs To Shut Out Their Loudspeakers !

To Paradise - Via the Jehad in Kashmir!

On Dealing With Contradictory Signals

On Treasuring a Moment

The Comfort of Conspiracies

A State Unimagined in Law: A Wrong Without a Remedy

Body-Counts Have Become Big, Compelling Business

So Many Obvious Things To Do, Way To Do Them

Some Good Even From This Crisis

Congress Culture

What a Precedent to Cite!

As Soldiers Put Their Lives on the Line

Kargil: Who and What is Responsible?

What Propels Them? What Blinds Them?

Not Just an Islamic, But a Psychological State

Every Disaster, a Photo-Opportunity

The Jihadi Mentality: Its Recoil and Danger

The Lunatic Mainstream Vs a Slender Fringe

Two Questions Recent Crises Throw at us

Annexation Through Technicalities

To the Bitter End

Pocket Edition

The Realities of Pakistan

An Extreme Case is not an Exception

The Pope Dispels All Doubts!

POTO: Interception, Confession, Confessions, Torture (Part I of II)

POTO: Approve Swiftly, and then Toughen it (Part II of II)

Combating Terrorism I, II

The Judgement Vs the Interim Order

Did the Court Ask, What is Mohd Aslam's Locus Standi?

Talk at India First Foundation

Political Will Hunting

Where the Buck Really Stops

The Manu of Our Times?

The Futility of Dialogue with Babari Committee

Calamities Come and Go, But Decision to Stay Remains

"But How Can we Disobey the Command of Our Lord?"

Not Just Macaulay's Offspring

The Media in Crises

The "Roman Brahmin"

Weak to the Strong, Strong to the Weak

Vital Distinctions

Who Killed the Australian Missionary Graham Staines?

Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons

If you let Facts Interfere You Lack Party Spirit

IIT Kanpur[edit]

In 2000, Shourie pledged the entire amount (Rs. 120 million) of discretionary spending available to him under Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) to setting up of Bio-Sciences & Bio-engineering Department at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur.[21] In 2005, he again pledged Rs. 110 million for developing a separate building for Environmental Sciences and Environmental Engineering at the institute.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Shourie is married to Anita, and they have a son.[22] His sister is the journalist Nalini Singh.[5]

Wikipedia bias and censorship[edit] [archive] [archive] [archive]

A wikipedia admin [archive] supports the censorship of Arun Shourie, saying: "I don't know that I agree with you; giving non-genuine scholarship like Shourie's more weight that it deserves seems to perpetrate the problem, to me. This is the sort of "teach the controversy" stuff that becomes very problematic very quickly in the West. But I recognize that the parallel is not exact, and so if you feel the need to do this, go ahead, and I will bite my tongue." [23]



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  1. [archive]
  2. "Padma Awards" [archive] (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original [archive] (PDF) on 15 November 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. [archive]
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 International Press Institute
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Nalini Singh's daughter Ratna writes novel about mother-daughter troubled relationship" [archive]. The Sunday Guardian. 9 August 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. AROUN SHOURIE [archive]
  7. India's Watergate : a study of political corruption in India / G. S. Bhargava | National Library of Australia [archive]
  8. The Arun Shourie Site [archive]
  9. "World Press Freedom Heroes: Symbols of courage in global journalism" [archive]. International Press Institute. 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Arun Shourie on BJP – Final Part « Offstumped – Commentary on Indian Politics [archive]
  11. Pratibha Patil
  12. Arun Shourie hits out at BJP top leadership - Indian Express [archive]
  13. 13.0 13.1 Magsaysay Foundation (2012)
  14. Nussbaum (2009), p. 61
  15. Jaffrelot, Christophe, ed. (2009). Hindu Nationalism: A Reader [archive]. Princeton University Press. p. 344. ISBN 978-1-40082-803-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Embree (1990), pp. 107-111
  17. Indian Express (2009)
  18. Nussbaum (2009), p. 62
  19. International Press Institute [archive]
  20. 20.0 20.1 "A Secular Agenda" [archive]. Retrieved 2006-09-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Shourie gives Rs 12 crore to IIT-Kanpur! [archive]
  22. God's an invention to suit society's needs: Arun Shourie [archive]
  23. [archive]


    • Investigative Journalism in India By S. K. Aggarwal


External links[edit]

Wikiquote:Arun Shourie [archive] [archive]